Thursday 6 December 2012
Photo, above: gas mask designed to protect against sarin gas, such as Syria is now loading into artillery shells, presumably to be used against its own citizens.
JOHN BATCHELOR SHOW
Co-hosts: Mary Kissel, Wall Street Journal editorial board; Lara M Brown, Villanova; Malcolm Hoenlein, Conference of Presidents
Thursday 905P Eastern Time: Salena Zito, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, in re: Jim DeMint resigns Senate, leaving the decision to Governor Nikki Haley of SC to choose a new senator to stand for re-election. Opportunity for Haley to show leadership; opportunity for Republican African-American Tim Scott, 47, to become first black SC senator in 100 years. Also, is this the GOP changing organically or forcing a demographic change?
Thursday 920P Eastern Time: Salena Zito, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, in re: Bush Inst held a mtg w Dallas Fed: How Immigration has contributed to GDP in the US for the last 400 years; immigration reform is a good way for the Republican Party to find a new course. Pres Bush: "Need a benevolent spirit and to keep in mind the contributions of immigrants." Jeb Bush: "Republicans's language has been harsh and antipathetic." How to speak to the large group of white rural voters? Answ: Most of them have lots of interaction with immigrants in their home communities. The fatcat Republicans missed the whole story. (And did so rudely.)
Elena Gremina’s documentary play "One Hour Eighteen Minutes" (below) tells the story – through a combination of interviews, diary entries and letters – of Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian lawyer who accused Russian Interior Ministry officials of embezzling 230 million dollars from the government in the form of a fraudulent tax refund. After making the accusation, Magnitsky was himself arrested on suspicion of tax evasion and held without trial for almost a year, at the end of which he was transferred to a different prison and there he died in custody. One hour and eighteen minutes is the period of time that civilian doctors were denied access to him in his cell.
Thursday 935P Eastern Time: Stephen Cohen, NYU, in re: Sergei Magnitsky idenitfied theft on a grand scale within the Kremlin; then was imprisoned on spurious charges and died in prison at the age of 37. William Browder, a once-successful businessman in Russia, now in UK, hired Magnitsky was his lawyer. The Magnitsky Bill passed today, with the East Euro. missile defense activities, may have tipped us into a new Cold War. Two Senators voted against: Congressman Paul, on the right; on left, the Socialist Bernie Sanders. Bill bans Russians who've committed human rights violations from visiting or owning property in the US. Who'll compile this list?? No way for any Russian to face his accuser, gather evidence and present it, or exculpate himself any way. Vladimir Ruskov says that most Russians support the bill – but he has no way of knowing what most Russians think. WSJ and NYT both supported the bill. How many laws have been passed about Americans who've died in prison? (None.) Linked to repeal of Jackson-Vanik – 1970s bill obliging Russia to allow Jews to emigrate. For me, the issue isn’t trade, it's the advent of a new Cold War. US priority today has to be cooperation with Russia on nuclear proliferation, and in Afghanistan and the Middle East. MK: What has Pres Obama accomplished by speaking ever so kindly to Moscow? SC: A new START treaty. Also, Russia is helping us supply our troops in Afgh.
Magnitsky is much worse than Jackson-Vanik, which it replaces, because the president could annually waive the latter, as was common practice over the years. Magnitsky is out of the president's control and will never be repealed. Anti-US lobbies are already ascendent in Moscow, and Magnitsky might seal the deal for them.
A Play About the Russian Lawyer Sergei Magnitsky Hits London ... When the death of a Russian whistleblower becomes the plot for a hit play in London, you know the Kremlin has lost control of the message.
House Passes Russia Trade Bill With Eye on Rights Abuses Inspired by the case of Sergei L. Magnitsky, a Russian lawyer who was tortured and died in prison after he investigated government corruption, ...
Thursday 950P Eastern Time: Stephen Cohen, continued, in re: Sarin gas being loaded in Syria; Russia collaborating in that. At present, Putin has advantage because the Congress is passing an act that can’t be utilized Putin will be furious at the bill, but his natl security decisions will not be affected. Syria: Russians sees the "Arab Spring" as destabilizing a volatile region, and so were against the action in Libya, are now against American action in Syria. Putin doesn’t make all decisions; would (theoretically) ask Mary Kissel: If Americans abet the overthrow of he Assad regime, what do you think will occur? . . . Russia's interest in Syria is not the pipsqueak naval base, but the arousal over a large part of the world of Islamic radicalism; Russia has 23 mil Muslim citizens; ME events can create chaos. Putin wd say, "Think like a statesman." JB: The president of the US deceived, lied, to the Russians, about US actions. That will not be forgiven."
Thursday 1005P (705P Pacific Time): Malcolm Hoenlein, Conference of Presidents, in re: The USS Iwo Jima and the USS Eisenhower in place in eastern Med. Sarin gas, extremely dangerous, being loaded into artillery shells in Syria under supervision of Iranian IRGC. Some of the sarin is from Russia, some from Iran, some from Iraq. Assad pere used gas against his own citizens. Israelis are now speaking of dangers of Syrian border: foreign, not Syrian "rebels" are dangerous. Alawite in Golan said that if Israel invaded Syria, Syria wd respond with missiles – many aimed at Tel Aviv, as are 170 missiles also now aimed at Tel Aviv from Iran. If gasses are used against Syrians in Aleppo or Damascus, that danger will [ooze] across the border into Israel. Lots of weapons once in Iraq are now scattered, even into Mali.
Thursday 1020P (720P Pacific Time): Dr. Irwin Cotler, PC, OC, MP; Canadian Member of Parliament for Mount Royal. Served as the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada from 2003 – 2006; in re: "Canada wd recall its amb for consultations, only; there will be no punitive steps such as cutting off relations." Globe and Mail has it muddled up. Canada has given $300mil in aid to Palestinians. Will oppose any unilateral move by PA to take Israel to the ICC. By this vote, we confer legitimacy on a terrorist organization. The PA has no authority in Gaza, and statehood claims require adherence to the rule of law – glorification of terrorist activity doesn't meet that criterion.
Thursday 1035P (735P Pacific Time): Khairi Abaza, FDD scholar focussing on democratic reform in the Arab world, spread of terrorism, influence of the media on politics. Co-founder of the Center for Liberty in the Middle East (CLIME), organization dedicated to teaching civic activism in the Middle East. Before Washington, Mr. Abaza worked for ten years in Egyptian politics; in re: Struggle between Islamists and non-Islamists – a constitution, or a dubious doc that gives power to nondemocratic forces, the religious establishment. First round to non-Islamic candidate, then Morsi promised he'd be a democrat and fair t all Egyptians; he was elected, then did not fulfill his promise. Now the military has collapsed – bean in a 1952 coup vs a multiparty system; the Egyptian judiciary ahs consistently stood for democracy; an independent judiciary is the cornerstone of democracy, whereas the military has no such concern, prefers its perquisites and luxuries. Mil still controls 30% of Egyptian economy, and want their ability to choose the Minister of Defense to be enshrined in the new constitution. Egypt is like a patient in the ICU. Protests are now national. Not bringing in tourists, and the worse the economy, the more anger against Morsi. The problem of the non-Islamists is that they’re divided. Morsi won with the help of non-Islamists, who thought he'd be better than another secular candidate. . . . How long can Egypt survive this chaos? Not long – maybe in six months or a year, the revolution of he hungry.
Thursday 1050P (750P Pacific Time): Dr. Imanuele Ottolenghi, FDD; advised European foreign ministries, testified before Canadian & Euro parliaments; research exposed connections between Iran's energy companies and its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps; in re: Iran. . . . Oils sales are down 50%, showing that the sanctions are effective. Europeans have sort of committed themselves to the sanctions; trade from €25 in 2009 to €15 bil now. Some countries still trading significantly shd have stopped oil by now. More troublesome: European technology being transferred to Iran, and lax attitude to allowing many people close to the regime to visit and conduct business in Europe: banking, technology procurement.
Thursday 1105P (805P Pacific Time): Malcolm Hoenlein, Conference of Presidents,
Thursday 1120P (820P Pacific Time): Arieh O'Sullivan - author, defense correspondent, Middle East & Israel; anchor at IBA English News (Israel). Was defense correspondent at JPost for a decade; in re: Gaza. (JPost today) Khaled Abu Toameh: Fatah to join HAMAS's 25th anniversary. HAMAS took a big blow during the recent war, Operation Pillar of Defense, while Fatah stood on sidelines; hope to return to Gaza Strip. Fatah, however, got support for going to UN. Hamas still running tunnels: a swarm of bees – a huge buzz over you – as Israeli drone monitor. Before, 800 tunnels; some of the targeting was to blow up some of he tunnels. Immed after the cease-fire, began digging again and cleaning out tunnels. Gaza is a rogue failed state, shot through with gun runner, drug lords, thugs of all stripes. Wd be the right thing to go to Sinai and take out the munitions stores, the materiel coming in from Sudan; Israel extremely reluctant to intervene across a sovereign border. There's an intl force in Sinai – mostly Americans – that dasn't move out of its camps because of the chaos around them. Syrian-Israeli border is heating up – usu hear abt a stray shell – but everyday Assad's army is crossing into DMZ and even into the No-Man's Land to pursue rebels. What really worries is the chem. weapons.
Thursday 1135P (835P Pacific Time): God of Liberty: A Religious History of the American Revolution by Thomas S. Kidd; 1 of 2
Thursday 1150P (850P Pacific Time): God of Liberty: A Religious History of the American Revolution by Thomas S. Kidd; 2 of 2
Thursday/Fri 1205A (905 Pacific Time): Salena Zito, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, in re: Jim DeMint resigns Senate, leaving the decision to Governor Nikki Haley of SC to choose a new senator to stand for re-election. Opportunity for Haley to show leadership; opportunity for Republican African-American Tim Scott, 47, to become first black SC senator in 100 years. Also, is this the GOP changing organically or forcing a demographic change?
Thursday/Fri 1220A (920 Pacific Time): Salena Zito, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, in re: Bush Inst held a mtg w Dallas Fed: How Immigration has contributed to GDP in the US for the last 400 years; immigration reform is a good way for the Republican Party to find a new course. Pres Bush: "Need a benevolent spirit and to keep in mind the contributions of immigrants." Jeb Bush: "Republicans's language has been harsh and antipathetic." How to speak to the large group of white rural voters? Answ: Most of them have lots of interaction with immigrants in their home communities. The fatcat Republicans missed the whole story. (And did so rudely.)
Thursday/Fri 1235A (935P Pacific Time): Matt Buchanan, Buzzfeed, in re: The Photo Wars break out between FB and Twitter and Instagram and the rest, disconnecting connectivity between social media realms.
Thursday/Fri 1250A (950P Pacific Time): Exeunt. Ken Croswell, Science Magazine, in re: the bright star Vega, in Lyra Constellation, freshly confirmed at 650-8oo million years old, with a gauzy cloud around it suggesting planetary disk (25 light years from Earth), old enough for primitive life.
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Vega, 25 light years from Earth, is one of the brightest stars in the sky, fifth magnitude, and now discovered 600-800 million years ago, just enough to sustain primitive life, if there are planets in the disc around the star.
Music (using New York City broadcast times)
9 hour: Bourne Supremacy, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol
10 hour: Tears of the Sun, Land of the Dead
11 hour: Infamous, The Patriot
12 hour: Bourne Supremacy, Ides of March